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The United States Federal Trade Commission Updates Their Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on October 1, 2012, issued the revised “Green Guides” that are intended to provide guidance to the marketers to ensure the environmental claims they make on their products or services are not deceptive or misleading. The revisions were issued two years after the proposed revisions were made available in October 2010 for public comment.

The Guide encourages advertisers to qualify their environmental claims by substantiating the particular claim they are making.  For instance, is your product bio-degradable?  Does it use less water?  Products should not be labeled simply as “green.” 

The revised Green Guides have 14 specific sections, and offer examples of deceptive and non-deceptive claims. In addition to providing clarification and revisions to existing sections, the Guide had added four new sections covering carbon offsets, certifications and seals of approval, renewable energy, and renewable materials claims.

The Challenge
The revised “Green Guides”, though not an enforceable rule, are intended to provide marketers guidance regarding the FTC’s and the consumer’s current view of the environmental marketing claims. The FTC can take action against marketers who are intentionally and repeatedly deceiving or misleading consumers regarding the true environmental impacts of certain products or services, under section 5 of the FTC act. Is your marketing team aware of the revisions in the Green Guides, and able to ensure that your environmental claims are not deceptive or misleading?

The Solution
Intertek, through our extensive global network, has a variety of services available to help you overcome the challenges related to ensure your marketing claims are in line with the updated Green Guides. Besides keeping you updated on these and other new environmental guidelines and regulations, Intertek experts can assess both your specific claims and validation needs as well as recommend ways to ensure that your claims are not at risk of being considered deceptive by consumers or the FTC.

About Intertek

Intertek is a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. Our network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and more than 100 countries, delivers innovative and bespoke Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification solutions for our customers’ operations and supply chains. Intertek Total Quality Assurance expertise, delivered consistently with precision, pace and passion, enabling our customers to power ahead safely.

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